Measure H brings changes to SRJC hierarchy

Pio Valenzuela , Staff Writer

After three counties voted yes on Measure H, nearly half a billion dollars and the responsibility to use the money correctly fell upon Santa Rosa Junior College President Dr. Frank Chong, prompting him to promote Vice Presidents Mary Kay Rudolph and Doug Roberts.

Since February, Rudolph has overseen all state and federal grant programs, adult education and distance education. Meanwhile, Roberts took on new duties supervising information technology and the facilities’ planning and operations departments, while assuming fiscal oversight of the $410 million Measure H bond money.

Additionally, SRJC will hire a director of capital projects to spearhead bond projects. The SRJC Board of Trustees approved the changes in its February meeting. The Board will also hire a director of distance education, but this position is unrelated to Measure H.

February’s board agenda states “the internal restructure will be cost neutral to the District. The two new positions will be supported by Measure H funds.”

According to state law and the text of Measure H, money from the bond cannot be used for administrator salaries, but the director of capital projects will work exclusively on projects for the bond.

“It’s a common practice to hire staff to work exclusively on the bond,” Chong said. He said funds from Measure H would not fund the director of distance education and the board made a mistake in indicating so.

Rudolph, senior vice president of academic affairs/assistant superintendent, said, “Dr. Chong has to focus on the big picture. The job has evolved and changed.”

Meanwhile, her job and duties changed as well, and she said the decision to delegate some of the president’s responsibilities to her and Roberts was no surprise. “We had been talking about it for six months or more,” Rudolph said.

She said that both she and Roberts were good choices for the promotion not only because of their existing duties, but because of the length of their service at SRJC.

“To have people like we do who stay for a long time is really good for an organization,” she said.

Roberts, senior vice president of finance and administration services/assistant superintendent said, “It’s a change in reporting. Because of the kind of budgeting oversight already under my auspices, the scope of the change isn’t that great.”

His new position provides more opportunities to create closer working relationships between the departments he oversees. He said prior to the change, I.T. and Facilities were two departments not reporting to a vice president.

“There is a lot of day-to-day maintenance and management and it’s an advantage for those departments to have day-to-day oversight,” Roberts said.

As senior vice presidents with more responsibilities, Rudolph, Roberts and their staff have more on their plate.

“A reorganization of any level can have an impact on the working conditions for the faculty,” said Julie Thompson, president of the All Faculty Association (AFA), which is the collective bargaining agent for all SRJC faculty and staff. However, she said, “There are no red flags for me.”

Sean Martin, AFA’s vice president, said, “The bond is so important that it’s necessary to make adjustments.”

Ultimately, the restructuring was a move to make sure that the bond is not put to waste.

“If the only thing he did was to get the bond. he’s already submitted his legacy,” Roberts said.

“The bond passes and the world’s different,” Chong said. “I’ve been there. I know how much work it takes to successfully implement a bond.”